IPod & component systems - sound issues?


New member
Username: Daves666

Post Number: 7
Registered: Oct-04
I've been thinking seriously lately about upgrading my home stereo to take my audio experience to the next level. I've also been moving away from CDs and have my iPod connected to my receiver.

So I wonder if there are inherent limitations/problems with using the iPod as a source in a better system? [I'm leaning towards getting a NADC320bee and a decent set of speakers]. Would the iPod itself have an impact on the sound quality in a configuration like this?

Unregistered guest
i use my iPod as a source for my NAD 763 A/V receiver and it sounds great. i compare/contrast the same song playing on both the iPod and a CD and i have a hard time noticing any difference. the only thing is that the line out on the iPod is pretty weak (in terms of power) so you'll have to add some gain at the receiver to equalize it with your other sources.

otherwise, go for it...

on a related note, this months' What Hi-Fi (British pub) did a review of all of the file formats and chose Apple AAC (for iPod) over MP3 and numerous others as the best sounding compressed format. incidentally, they said Apple Lossless was almost indistinguishable from CD as well.

New member
Username: Sungamer

New York, NY USA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-04
"Apple Lossless was almost indistinguishable from CD" - HAHA!

AAC of any type is better than any MP3 or equivalent format. An AAC file at 96kbps has the equivalent quality (subjective, of course) of an 128kbps MP3. Lossless of course means that there is NO loss in encoding, hence, there is absolutely no difference from the original CD, not just "almost" indistinguishable.

I've done some listening tests of mp3's and AAC's, and (I don't know that much about what formats Apple uses in their ipods, but) if Apple uses AAC, then a bitrate of 128 or above will get you very good quality, and at 160kbps it'll be almost indistinguishable from the source.

Unregistered guest
I agree with Mr. Sun. My experience has been that AAC bit for bit is superior to MP3 for Apple's MP3 codec. I use 160 kbps AAC, and it's virtually lossless in terms of sound quality. I listen through a very high quality system either through my B&W speakers (not cheap and well-amplified) or through my $1000 headphone rig (Sennheiser 600's and a "Little" Headroom amplifier) and have done double-blind synchronized listening tests and not been able to tell the difference.
Apple Lossless is different than AAC--it's like applying TIFF/LZW compression to an image--no loss of information, but the entropy of the data is eliminated. AAC and MP3 use "perceptual coding", which (pardon the pun) is analogous to JPEG compression--much of the redundant data and some of the more subtle data (depending on bitrate) is thrown away. With 160 kbps the loss is insignificant for 16 bit data sampled at 44.1 khz (CD Audio).

Gold Member
Username: John_a


Post Number: 3236
Registered: Dec-03
I agree, too.

Dave, if you are in doubt, just try it. You can also save CD files at full rate, 16 bit, 44.1, and just compare the result. iPod is solid-state: no spinning discs. Also, the power supply is a Li battery which must be as stable and noise-free as you can get. "HiFi News" tested various iPods about a year ago and concluded the DAC in the original full-size iPod was better than in the Mini.

Also consider an Apple Airport Express Base Station. http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/ in conjunction with a computer with WiFi/Airport. You just send audio files, from iTunes, to the base station, plugged into the amp or receiver. It has both analogue and digital outputs. On digital, it will even output 5.1 (Dolby and DTS) if set up correctly. It is wireless, convenient, and the data transfer rate is more than enough to play real CDs from the computer drive, as well as audio files saved on disc, including iPod.
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